hooloovoo: sunset, with clouds and hooloovoo written in blue at the bottom. (Default)
[personal profile] hooloovoo
Kind of just had a bit of a revelation. I was trying to describe my least favorite book (Little Women), and as I was typing about tomboys (tomboy in this post standing in for non-gender-conforming female-bodied person) who grow up and get married, I realized: My problem with that storyline is that it's got nothing to do with my life. I remember being like 10 and thinking that eventually I'll have to grow my hair out, because I couldn't have short hair forever. But it's not like anyone ever told me that. If they had, I'd've argued. But it was in all the books.

To an extent I blocked it out. Like, if you asked me at 14, I would have said that Little Women is about Jo having awesome adventures and taking care of her family, and that Gone With the Wind is about Scarlett doing pretty much the same thing, but with an added level of not taking any shit from anybody. That is not what those books are about. Those books are about women who are independent because they have to be, until they settle down and get married (happily or not).

There aren't books about people like me. I mean, maybe there are a few. But of the books I read as a child and teenager, there weren't any where the epic tomboy young woman grows up to be an epic tomboy adult.

I'm aware it's unreasonable to expect a multitude of books about people who share my fairly atypical gender identity. But. I also kind of want to write some. Because there have got to be kids out there now who are pissed at the end of Mulan and who find Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret utterly baffling. And those kids should have books that don't treat their gender identity as something they'll grow out of. 

On a more positive front, I'm currently rereading Monstrous Regiment, which features female characters who a) are bad ass, and b) don't get married. It's a Discworld book, so it's really funny, and most of the characters are female. But it's not a "girl" book. There's a lot of commentary on gender norms, but the basic plot is somewhere between neutral and masculine. Anyway, it's awesome, and totally readable even if you don't know anything about Discworld. So go read it. It's still not perfect, but I wish someone had given it to me when I was 13.

Date: 2010-05-22 03:32 am (UTC)
syntaxofthings: Death Fae from the Fey Tarot (Default)
From: [personal profile] syntaxofthings
Well, the problem with the books you are mentioning is that they were written long before it was acceptable for a woman to have a life independent of a marriage. They either couldn't conceive of it or couldn't publish it. So you're right. We need more. And I'll look up your book rec - Discworld books *are* hilarious.

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